Are We Praying for the Right Things?

The last few days have weighed heavily on my heart and mind. And yet I know that the impact on me is far less than it is on those of color.

If you know me, you know that I am anti-racist. My heart doesn’t stand for people to use skin color as a reason to treat others as unequal—or worse, as a reason to abuse or oppress. I have long been an advocate that black lives matter, unequivocally.

But so many people are blinded to the fact that there’s a significant problem in our country. That people of color are often targeted for their skin tone alone. That they’re treated as less than at first sight, or that they face dangers when they simply take part in normal, everyday activities.

I have never faced their fears. And as a white woman, I likely never will. But I have walked alongside them and seen those fears up close.

It’s not the America I want for myself. It’s not the America I want for our children. It’s not an America under God.

One thing in the last few days has struck my conscience like no other. In listening to several church services, I heard the prayers of the church reach out to God to help quell violence.

But I never heard those prayers extol to God to help remedy the situation that underlies that violence and the non-violent protests surrounding it.

And that left me to wonder—how can you pray to stop violence, yet not in the same breath ask God for help to rid our country of the inequality and oppression that stands behind that violence? How can you talk about stopping protests and riots without first lifting up to God the conditions and the fears behind them? How can you only consider violence in prayers without lifting up the many quiet voices that came before that violence but weren’t heard or listened to?

I can’t reconcile this in my mind.

Yes, pray for an end to violence and for peace. Pray for the protection of those in our police forces. But also pray that hearts change and biases dissolve. That the words “created equal” become a reality in the way we treat each other and not simply a catchphrase from the Founding Fathers.

And don’t just pray. Move your feet in action, too.

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